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In 2012 writer John Sutherland permanently lost his sense of smell. At about the same time, he embarked on a rereading of George Orwell and—still coping with his recent disability—noticed something peculiar: Orwell was positively obsessed with smell. In this original, irreverent biography, Sutherland offers a fresh account of Orwell’s life and works, one that sniffs out a unique, scented trail that wends from Burmese Days through Nineteen Eighty-Four and on to The Road to Wigan Pier. Sutherland airs out the odors, fetors, stenches, and reeks trapped in the pages of Orwell’s books. From Winston Smith’s apartment in Nineteen Eighty-Four, which “smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats,” to the tantalizing aromas of concubine Ma Hla May’s hair in Burmese Days, with its “mingled scent of sandalwood, garlic, coconut oil, and jasmine,” Sutherland explores the scent narratives that abound in Orwell’s literary world. Along the way, he elucidates questions that have remained unanswered in previous biographies, addressing gaps that have kept the writer elusively from us. In doing so, Sutherland offers an entertaining but enriching look at one of the most important writers of the twentieth century and, moreover, an entirely new and sensuous way to approach literature: nose first.
There have been many studies of George Orwell, but nothing quite like this book by Alex Woloch—an exuberant, revisionary account of Orwell’s radical writing. Bearing down on the propulsive irony and formal restlessness intertwined with his plain-style, Woloch offers a new understanding of Orwell and a new way of thinking about writing and politics.
Author Christopher Hollis knew George Orwell personally during his schooldays at Eton, afterwards in Burma, and at the end of his life. His study of Orwell’s books is therefore illuminated by some anecdotes of reminiscence. However, it is important to note that this book is primarily a study rather than a biography. Hollis examines Orwell’s books in order and traces through them the development of this unmatched literary giant’s thought process. From the experiences described in Down and Out in Paris and London to the points in his life that began driving him toward socialism, A Study of George Orwell is a comprehensive overview of Orwell’s work as it related to his personal life. Hollis guides the reader all the way through Orwell’s oeuvre, including his two most famous books—Animal Farm and 1984—which are, arguably, the greatest literary protests of political power and tyranny ever penned. Portraying Orwell as a fearless champion of the common man and a follower in the footsteps of Jonathan Swift, Hollis offers a compelling review and analysis of Orwell’s work as well as a perspective not found by the average, distant biographer
For the first time, these two essential books on George Orwell have been brought together under one cover. The Unknown Orwell describes the first thirty years of Orwell's life—his childhood, the years at Eton and in Burma, and the struggles to become a writer. Orwell: The Transformation carries us forward into the crucial years 1933 to 1937 in which Eric Blair, minor novelist, became George Orwell, a powerful writer with a view, a mission, and a message.
What was Orwell’s world like? Is Orwell’s world still our world? Is Big Brother still watching you? April, 1947. In a run-down farmhouse on a remote Scottish island, George Orwell begins his last and greatest work: Nineteen Eighty-Four. Forty-three years old and suffering from the tuberculosis that within three winters will take his life, Orwell comes to see the book as his legacy—the culmination of a career spent fighting to preserve the freedoms which the wars and upheavals of the twentieth century have threatened. Completing the book is an urgent challenge, a race against death. In this masterful novel, Dennis Glover explores the creation of Orwell’s classic work, which for millions of readers worldwide defined the twentieth century, and is now again proving its unnerving relevance. Simultaneously a captivating drama, a unique literary excavation, and an unflinching portrait of a writer, The Last Man in Europe will change the way we understand both our enduringly Orwellian times and Nineteen Eighty-Four.
This 2007 Companion is a collection of essays on the life and works of George Orwell.
National Book Critics Circle Award, Biographers International Organization Plutarch Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist New York Times Book Review, Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian Best Books of 2016 Thomas De Quincey was an obsessive. He was obsessed with Wordsworth and Coleridge, whose Lyrical Ballads provided the script to his life, and by the idea of sudden death. Running away from school to pursue the two poets, De Quincey insinuated himself into their world. Basing his sensibility on Wordsworth’s and his character on Coleridge’s, he forged a triangle of unusual psychological complexity. Aged twenty-four, De Quincey replaced Wordsworth as the tenant of Dove Cottage, the poet’s former residence in Grasmere. In this idyllic spot he followed the reports of the notorious Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811, when two families, including a baby, were butchered in their own homes. In his opium-soaked imagination the murderer became a poet while the poet became a murderer. Embedded in On Murder as One of the Fine Arts, De Quincey’s brilliant series of essays, Frances Wilson finds the startling story of his relationships with Wordsworth and Coleridge. Opium was the making of De Quincey, allowing him to dissolve self-conflict, eliminate self-recrimination, and divest himself of guilt. Opium also allowed him to write, and under the pseudonym “The Opium-Eater” De Quincey emerged as the strangest and most original journalist of his age. His influence has been considerable. Poe became his double; Dostoevsky went into exile with Confessions of an English Opium-Eater in his pocket; and Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, George Orwell, Alfred Hitchcock, and Vladimir Nabokov were all De Quincey devotees. There have been other biographies of Thomas De Quincey, but Guilty Thing is the first to be animated by the spirit of De Quincey himself. Following the growth of his obsessions from seed to full flowering and tracing the ways they intertwined, Frances Wilson finds the master key to De Quincey’s vast Piranesian mind. Unraveling a tale of hero worship and revenge, Guilty Thing brings the last of the Romantics roaring back to life and firmly establishes Wilson as one of our foremost contemporary biographers.

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